Saturday, May 19, 2012

Speaking of Rauchbier... An Educational Afternoon

Several weekends ago, our friends Jeff and Susan invited a few of us beer nerds over to their place on a Sunday afternoon. They had recently been on a trip to Bamberg and the surrounding area, and generously decided to share with us the treasures they'd brought home. Also their excellent homebrew and smoked pork loins, and other tasty goodies. After some tasty homemade dunkel and a couple variations on pils, we started with the Dusseldorfer Bonus Round:

Im Fuchschen, Zum Uerige, Hovels altbiers

Three way-fresher-than-you-can-get-here samples of real by golly altbier! The Hovels was the softest, with rich malt, well-integrated bitterness, and a dry finish. Fuchschen was a step up, but still very easy to drink. The Uerige was massively bitter, and then, like the others, vanished cleanly from the palate. The common attributes of all of them were a rich malt aroma and flavor up front, with a strong medium high to very high bitterness, and a disappearing finish. A huge burst of flavor, then little to no aftertaste. It would be very easy to drink these all day, as Jeff reported doing.

Then, the main course: rauchbier. Rauchbier and rauchfleisch. Jeff smoked a pork loin over river birch, and one over orange wood. Both were distinctly different, and both were delicious, particularly with the beers we had with them.

Fresh Schlenkerla Marzen, Spezial Lager, Spezial Marzen
These beers are available here in the states, but 't'would be rare to get any as fresh as these samples. The Spezial Lager came off a bit smokier than the Marzen, likely owing to having a less melanoidin-intense malt profile. The Schlenkerla was uber-smoky as usual, the smokiest by far, but also exhibited a huge, rich malt character. Eventually, we stopped stuffing ourselves on meat and potatoes. (We ate them all.) Just to cap things off, we enjoyed a couple half-pints of Jeff and Susan's Timothy Taylor's Landlord clone and soon to be famous cream ale. Yeah, we were drinking that stuff before it was cool....

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